My Chicago: Amanda Kraemer, LOFT Fashion Director

The fashionista LOFT Fashion Director chats about her love for Chicago, the city's fashion sense and her fall must-haves.

On a breezy summer day in June we had the opportunity to catch up with Amanda Kraemer while she was in town from New York, visiting the Michigan Avenue LOFT store.

We loved meeting her and we adored her wide-legged, seersucker pants — so much so that our writers had to grab a pair, too.

Such is the positive influence of the upbeat, down-to-earth, and super-stylish fashion director of LOFT who says she doesn’t get enough time in Chicago, but explores as much as possible when she’s in town.

Without further ado, a few city sites, sights and fashion tips as recommended by the expert. 

What sets Chicago apart from other cities, in terms of fashion?

I like the true variety of Chicago fashion. It has the ability to be at once uber-inviting, classic and cool, but it’s also home to some of the most progressive and best-dressed women I’ve ever seen.

When you have free time, what are some local shopping spots you like to explore?

Chicago is a hotbed for mid-century furniture and furnishings; I could spend hours browsing at Found Vintage Living. I love the edit and art at Ikram, and I recommend everyone stopping by the new Lou & Grey store (so beautiful, I could live in the fitting room!).

September is all about fashion. What are some of your favorite trends for fall?

The ’70s trend continues. From high-waisted flare denim to flashback florals, flowy dresses, feminine scarves, a palette of crimson, marsala and pumpkin spice, I’m ready to embrace the throwbacks in a modern way.

What has inspired your fashion choices recently?

Three things: 1) I’m really excited to experiment with new skirt lengths—mini, midi and maxi—right now. I love how a different length can completely transform your look from flirty and feminine to fashionista.

2) I’ve been traveling a lot recently and always love incorporating each location’s vibe into my day-to-day look to create a wear-anywhere aesthetic. 3) I’m into mixing legit vintage pieces with vintage lookalike items. I think of it as the new hi/low combo.

What are some of your favorite Chicago restaurants? Any bars you’ve discovered that you enjoyed?

My brother-in-law is closely connected with the culinary scene, so I’m constantly getting recommendations and tips from him. My new favorites are MFK and Luke’s Lobster (so small but so good!). For repeat delights, a meal at Pump Room, The Bristol or Girl & The Goat, never disappoints/always makes me happy.

Girl and Goat restaurant in Chicago
The Girl & Goat restaurant is a great lunch spot in Chicago. (©John/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Do you get to go out to any attractions while you're in town? If so, what are some of your favorites?

Chicago has miles of pristine waterfront, so I always try to get some time to walk it out. I’ll usually work my way through Grant Park and end up at the Art Institute. Weather pending, I love a good game day at Wrigley, and the talent of Steppenwolf never disappoints.

Amanda Kraemer's Perfect Chicago Day 

A morning run or workout at Surfset. Caffeine boost and browsing a market. Al fresco lunch. A late afternoon spa session. Dinner at C Chicago. Take in a jazz show at Green Mill. Late night bite at Q-Tine. 

When you're flying out of NYC, What are your go-to outfits for traveling?

I’m always cold, and a plane feels like wintertime in Chicago to me, so I’m constantly searching for the perfect cardigan to wrap myself in while flying. I can’t wait to stock up on all the fall’s super cozy cardigans—boyfriend, midi or ankle-grazing. We are offering cardigans in practically every color and silhouette [for fall] at LOFT.

You should never leave home without your favorite essentials; a flat, white sneaker—to take a look up or down—and sandals, flat or heeled.

If you were to pick a fashion-focused travel destination other than Chicago, where would you want to go and why?

It’s a three-way tie between St. Petersburg, Mumbai and Instanbul. Fall gets me in the mood for opulence, and each of these cities is known to take each detail, print, pattern and fabric to the next level. I love the concept of working with a tailor to create something individual. Bonus, each city hosts some of the most extravagant events, so I could actually wear my frocks out and about within reason!